|Circus of Fear|
|Directed by||John Llewellyn Moxey|
|Written by||Harry Alan Towers|
|Based on||Again the Three Just Men |
by Edgar Wallace
|Produced by||Harry Alan Towers|
|Edited by||John Trumper|
|Music by||Johnny Douglas|
|Distributed by||Warner-Pathé Distributors (UK)|
Constantin Film (W. Germany)
American International Pictures (US)
|29 April 1966 (W. Germany)|
November 1967 (UK)
|Countries||United Kingdom |
Circus of Fear (German: Das Rätsel des silbernen Dreieck / Mystery of the Silver Triangle), also Scotland Yard auf heißer Spur, also Circus of Terror) is a 1966 Anglo-German international co-production thriller film starring Christopher Lee, Suzy Kendall, Leo Genn and Cecil Parker. The U.S. title was Psycho-Circus. It was based on the novel Again the Three Just Men by Edgar Wallace (1928).
It was shot at Hammer Film's Bray Studios in Berkshire and on location around London.The film was partially shot at Billy Smart's Circus. The film was co-produced by the leading German distributor Constantin Film, which was at the same time releasing Rialto Film's long-running series of Wallace adaptations in Germany. Several of the cast Heinz Drache, Eddi Arent and Klaus Kinski were regular performers in that series and were added to this production to appeal to German audiences. Werner Jacobs directed the version release in West Germany.
The film is set in London, mainly in the East End and docklands.
When an armoured car is robbed, in a daring daylight raid co-ordinated on Tower Bridge, one of the guards is shot and killed by Mason (Victor Maddern). The gang escape on the river.
Part of the gang escape northwards on the M1 motorway. The police catch up and force them off the road, killing one man. Meanwhile Mason dumps his car in a lake and takes a suitcase full of money to nearby buildings. An unseen knife-thrower kills Mason as he turns to leave.
We are introduced to the characters of Barberini's Circus, including Drago (Christopher Lee), who wears a full mask to hide his fire damaged face. Manfred (Klaus Kinski) arrives at the circus seeking employment. It is revealed that Mr Big (the midget) is blackmailing Drago. An unseen person unlocks the lion and it almost kills one of the circus girls.
The police are led to the circus but also require to investigate a body found with a knife next to it. The police interview the girl who was attacked by the lion and soon after is herself murdered by a thrown knife.
The police (naturally) interview the circus knife-thrower.
Drago confesses to his niece that he found a suitcase of money and hid it. Manfred is the next victim of the knife-thrower who this time also sets a fire.
A police manhunt causes Drago to fall to his death and the suitcase of money is retrieved. However, detective Elliot (Leo Genn) decides this is not the killer. His examination of all the clues leads to a final denouement in front of the assembled suspects during a knife-throwing act.
The film premiered in Germany on 29 April 1966 and in the UK in November 1967.
The Radio Times wrote, "Christopher Lee wears a black woolly hood for nearly all of his scenes in this lame whodunnit, with minor horrific overtones...but the stalwart efforts of the cast including Klaus Kinski and Suzy Kendall act as a welcome safety net for the shaky plot" ; while Britmovie called it "fairly suspenseful."